Thank you OEL! I have used this great site many times. 925-1000.com and silvercollection.it are my two "go-to" sites. I've read the posting requirements and photo upload instructions, and hope to contribute when I have something to offer. ;-) I hope this post isn't too long... kinda got carried away... I almost started a "GJLD and GJLtd" thread...
I'm an avid collector of antique and vintage sterling silver charms and charm bracelets (still learning). I've recently been researching the Georg Jensen company history, and the "GJLtd" and "GJLD" import sponsor's marks used by the Georg Jensen Ltd retail store in London. Any comments, corrections, etc would be appreciated.
I've only searched the web so far, and compiled a list of annotated links for the best online info and references I could find. I have not yet found documentation that explicitly clarifies how these marks relate to works produced by the Georg Jensen Silversmithy A/S in Denmark, or if any authentic, Jensen-licensed jewelry (including charms) was produced outside of Denmark prior to 1997.
There is confusion among less knowledgeable collectors and sellers about whether the "GJLD" or "GJLtd" marks alone, indicate authentic Georg Jensen charms and other jewelry. Some online sellers are selling vintage charms and bracelets bearing either of these marks, as authentic Georg Jensen jewelry, stating that they are maker's marks. Some claim that the charms were made in Denmark and the London store stamped them "GJLD" or "GJLtd" as the maker's mark. According to one dealer, imported sterling silver items weighing less than 7 grams are not required to be hallmarked in the UK. Others claim that the charms were made in London by the Jensen store under a license from the Denmark company.
I've found no documentation for either scenario. However, I *have* seen alot of sterling charms with the "GJLtd" and "GJLD" marks (sans Jensen Denmark marks), that don't look anything like vintage Scandivavian jewelry, much less Jensen jewelry. I seriously doubt that Jensen's Denmark smithy made St. Christophers (cheapo versions), or bucket, guitar, driver's license and can-can dancer charms!
Based on my review so far, my understanding is that:
--- The London shop that opened in 1921, was strictly a retail outlet for the Jensen firm in Denmark, under the purview of Jensen's retail sales company "Georg Jensen & Wendel Inc.", not his production company, "Georg Jensen Silversmithy Inc."
--- The store imported charms and other jewelry from a variety of sources, all of which were stamped with one of the store's import sponsor's marks, "GJLD" or "GJLtd", as well as authentic Jensen jewelry from Denmark (which bore one or more of Jensen's Denmark maker's marks in addition to the sponsor's marks).
--- Prior to at least 1997, all of the Georg Jensen company's jewelry was produced in Denmark.
--- Unless the jewelry bears one of the Jensen Denmark firm's maker's marks, it is not an authentic Jensen piece. This would seem to be supported by the fact that in 1945, the Danish firm disavowed all association with its New York retail store, and began adding the Wendel-Jensen Sterling Denmark stamp to its works, after the New York shop began contracting and selling American-made "Jensen style" works under Lunning's newly formed company, Georg Jensen USA.
So, if prior to 1997, no Jensen pieces were produced in London and all authentic Jensen items bear the Denmark firm's marks, then "GJLd" and "GJLtd" must've been import marks for the Georg Jensen Ltd store, and not maker's marks or hallmarks for Georg Jensen Silversmithy A/S.
--- From 1972 - 1997, the Denmark smithy went through several takeovers and mergers before becoming part of the Royal Copenhagen group (Scandinavia Ltd.?) in 1997.
Could one of those takeover companies have been British and made non-Scandinavian-style charms in London between 1972 - 1997? If so, can the same import sponsor's mark be used as an actual maker's mark?
One source (no citations) stated that when Jensen merged with Hans Hansen around 1991 and later with A. Michelsen (Andreas or Anton?), they all used the Georg Jensen stamp. If so, did Hansen and Michelsen items carry the Jensen stamp until Georg Jensen A/S became independent from Royal Copenhagen in 2007?
In all fairness, I think some of the confusion stems from busy folks checking a few webpages for an answer, and finding correct information but, lacking context knowledge, are misinterpreting it and not searching further. For example, even if you're familiar with the British hallmarking system, you might conclude from this page that the London store manufactured Jensen jewelry:
Once I discovered one crucial little tidbit of info re: sponsor's vs. maker's marks on the 925-1000 British hallmarks page, some of the info I had previously found, made sense. This page is at the very beginning of my annotated links:
comprehensive guide to the system of British hallmarks; notes that for imported items, the sponsor's mark (British importing firm) serves as the "maker's mark", but is not the actual maker; this is why import marks are listed on the London "Maker's Marks" page; the other import mark is the stamp by the assay office; actual maker's marks may also appear on imported items, in addition to the required import marks.
After reading that page, its a little easier to connect the dots (so to speak):
all 10 of Jensen's hallmarks with dates; no GJ Ld or GJ Ltd shown; "The Copenhagen quarters were greatly expanded and before the close of the 1920's, Jensen had opened retail outlets as far ranging as New York, London, Paris, Stockholm, Berlin and Buenos Aires."
London "Maker's Marks" by name, GG, shows GJ Ld and GJ Ltd, noted as Georg Jensen Ltd, usually with import marks (ie., assay stamp)
Jensen is (correctly) not listed under English silver or British silversmiths, he is listed under Silversmiths and Factories, a listing of prominent non-UK silversmiths; 8 of Jensen maker's marks shown w/ dates, designers' marks w/ dates, brief history of "...the Danish silver company Georg Jensen"; includes London in statement re: retail stores, and no mention of a London smithy
alphabetical listing (index) of British silversmiths' names, J, links to maker's mark images, Jensen is not listed
alphabetical listing (index) of British silversmiths' maker's mark images, by letter, GH-GL, Jensen is not listed
Thanks for your referral to the actual company site, georgjensen.com and the email addresses. Now that I've compiled some information, I am going to begin contacting people with expertise and posting to a few forums, to see if I can ferret out a definitive answer, with references.
Any and all thoughts, comments, corrections appreciated.
"Silver is the best material we have; gold is precious in value but not in effect. The character of silver is satisfactorily obstinate; it has to be conquered -- and then it has this wonderful moonlight luster, something of the light of the Danish summer night. Silver can seem like twilight, or when it dews over, like ground mist rising."
-- Georg Jensen, speaking on the occasion of his 60th birthday in 1926. From Georg Jensen, The Danish Silversmith by Jorgen Miller.